Eastside Rail Now's Testimony at the
November 29 Sound Transit Board Meeting

The following is the text of the testimony that was presented by Eastside Rail Now! at the Sound Transit Board meeting on November 29, 2007 regarding the next step for Sound Transit in the wake of the defeat of Proposition 1:

Good Afternoon.

Several things have changed recently.

Proposition 1 was defeated, and the public has made it clear that they want solutions, but only ones that are truly effective -- and affordable.

There is a growing sense of urgency to find real solutions for global warming. The news gets grimmer day by day. Our best scientists are now telling us that we need to start taking immediate action to attain an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas output worldwide.

Also, we have shown that the PSRC's "BNSF Corridor Study" is fundamentally flawed -- and that following its recommendation to scrap the Eastside railroad would do irreparable harm to our region.

Utilizing the railroad for commuter rail is perhaps the biggest and most immediate step that we could take to do something meaningful about global warming, traffic congestion and other problems. Eastside Rail Now! has already provided the board with data showing how such a commuter service could be launched at an almost trivial cost.

We continue to see strong and growing support for utilizing the railroad. This is evidenced, in part, by the large and growing number of visits to our web site, now many thousands per month.

We understand that the leadership had given priority to other projects, and we also understand about bureaucratic inertia. However, many people have told us that they think that starting commuter rail on the Eastside could actually increase support for other rail transit projects, rather than hinder them.

Starting such a service would demonstrate how good rail transit can be. It would also show that such projects can be done quickly and cheaply -- even here. And it would show that we are truly serious about doing something about global warming and $100 a barrel oil.

The Eastside railroad has the potential to become much more than just another successful commuter rail line. Its generous right of way, with ample room for a linear nature preserve and a pedestrian-friendly trail, could make it an unrivaled magnet for transit-oriented development, an asset that other regions could only dream about.

The Economist stated in 2005 that the Seattle area has the worst transportation planning in North America. Now we have the opportunity to begin to do some of the best planning.

There is absolutely no need to wait another year or two for still another election to attempt to start moving forward. The Sound Transit board has the power to fundamentally change the dynamics of transportation planning in the region with virtually just the stroke of a pen, and begin immediately moving the region forward into the 21st century.

Thank you.

For links to other testimony by Eastside Rail Now!, see Index of Public Testimony.

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This page created November 29, 2007.
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